What would you do if you woke up with super powers? For Bella Brown, life hasn’t gone according to plan. She’s almost thirty, still living in her uneventful hometown, and her dreams of becoming an investigative reporter have fallen by the wayside. That is, until she wakes up one morning to find she’s been gifted with some amazing new abilities. What’s a girl to do with heightened senses, super speed and the ability to lift a truck one-handed? Bella quickly discovers that her new powers can easily help her land front-page leads at local newspaper The Hartleybourne Gazette. Soon Bella’s out every night chasing down local criminals for stories, while keeping her powers a secret from everyone besides flatmate Chloe. But when a burglary-gone-wrong accidentally turns her into the mysterious Hartleybourne Heroine, Bella finds herself on the front page for the wrong reasons. Her secret becomes harder to keep as she tries to track down the source of her powers, and especially when crime reporter Matt Gilmore is intent on unmasking the town’s new vigilante… Suddenly, having an extraordinary life is far more dangerous than she ever imagined.
I would like to welcome to my blog writer Ellie Spellman who writes about the books that have inspired her as a writer, as part of the blog tour for her debut novel She’s Bad News. Many thanks to blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for organising this fascinating guest piece.
Books That Inspired Me
By Elle Spellman
As children, we often wonder what we’ll eventually do ‘when we grow up’ and decide on potential occupations – some more questionable than others. For example, I wanted to join the Ghostbusters.
Okay, fine – I still do.
But being a writer was the one thing I always wanted to do, and as soon as I knew, the goal stayed with me. I wanted to write stories, and the books I read in my early childhood were responsible for igniting my desire to become an author.
As a child in the late 1980s, I owned a vast collection of books, many of which were published by Ladybird. Going to the bookstore with my mum to buy a new one was always exciting. Among these books was the Garden Gang series; a collection of stories about various vegetables and their day to day adventures, their happy faces illustrated colourfully on each page. I absolutely loved them.
The series was written by Jayne Fisher who, at nine, was Ladybird’s youngest author. Nope, that’s not an error – she was nine. Given that at the time I was only seven, she became the object of both my envy and inspiration all at once. I wanted to be a published author too, just like Jayne. I wanted my picture on the back of my books which would be in shops. It would be totally amazing. I knew that if that happened, my young life would be complete.
So I started to do things differently; I wrote books. I’d fold and staple together sheets of A4 paper and write my stories carefully onto each page, reserving the second for an illustration. I spent many an afternoon on the books and was incredibly proud of my creations. My mother encouraged me to send them to publishers, and so I learned to write a cover letter, placing it neatly in the envelope with my latest book, which would no doubt lead me to become the next Jayne Fisher.
Of course, I was rejected, but that didn’t stop me from writing the next one. And the next, and the next. The kind words on the rejection letters I received made me happy – I knew that someone had at least looked at my book, and the thought that maybe I’d have better luck with my next offering kept me going. It was exciting, leaving me continuously inspired to keep trying. I always did.
Okay, so I didn’t become a nine-year-old star writer in the end. But I did write a lot. And that was the most important thing.
As I continued working on projects through the years – a couple of YA stories that I never got round to finishing – my writing ambition still remained. Then one day, in 2004, I picked up a copy of The Second Assistant whilst waiting for a train, and subsequently fell in love with women’s fiction. I felt drawn to these books, with their hilarious heroines and their escapades. I became particularly fond of British chick-lit; novels that focused on women who perhaps didn’t fall under the expectation of ‘having it all’, and dealt with life’s shortcomings in heart-warming and often amusing ways. I picked up novel after novel, losing myself to uplifting tales of laughter, dreams and ambition and making the most out of shitty situations. They were relatable. They were, for the most part, happy. I’ve never been a big reader of romance, but I didn’t mind a romantic element as a secondary plot. The books gave me the escapism and warmth and humour that I needed.
So naturally, I began to write women’s fiction.
I wanted to write something fun. With a heroine people can relate to, who people can laugh along with, who people can root for. Add to that a love for comic books, and Bella Brown was created.
There was no specific book that inspired me to write. There were, in fact, many. A love for reading throughout my life has taken me to wonderful places and encouraged me in so many ways. The children’s books I read while young made me want to become a writer; the books I read later in life helped to shape my skills and find my voice. And so far, it’s been an amazing journey!
About the author.
Elle Spellman is a writer and comic book geek living in Bristol, UK. She’s been writing since a very young age, spending her childhood afternoons penning stories about fictional adventures, and illustrating them too. Now, Elle tends to write contemporary fiction with kick-ass heroines and a little bit of magic. She’s Bad News is her debut novel, and she’s just finished working on her second. Her other interests include running, wine, red lipstick, the paranormal, and all things Batman.
Ellie Spellman can be followed on the following social media sites.